The Supreme court has held that Section 37 of the Architects Act does not prohibit individuals not registered under the Architects Act from undertaking the practice of architecture and its cognate activities. The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi observed that a post titled 'Architect', 'Associate architect' or any other similar title using the term or style of "Architect"
OUR OPINION ON THE MATTER
The verdict is a reality check on the Architect’s Act and the Council of Architecture Let me start with a fact that there should be an appeal against the verdict. But more than the momentary joy or disappointment of the petitioners, this verdict is a wake-shake up call for the CoA.
The verdict has questioned the foundation of the Architect’s Act and the sole purpose of CoA’s existence. Not only CoA has been reduced to the flagbearers of the usage of a title only (of course the title of an ‘architect’), their reason for formation and sustenance has been questioned. If CoA is not the representative for the profession of Architecture, then it is like a ‘mere’ IIA. Just a professional body with no right to action. Hence, I believe the appeal should be from the council.
If the verdict is upheld, it opens a Pandora’s box As on date, the council has no powers to regulate the profession they can only uphold the use of the title. If this status is maintained every other firm would
Switch to a Pvt. Ltd. (not necessarily a bad move in my opinion)
Invite partnership from outside the profession
Invite investments and offer a stake in the company
The directors, chairmen, the board would cease to be architects. Architects would just be employees hired to maintain the minimum requirement or as subject experts.
Every known practitioner (registered or not) would advertise for laminates, sanitaryware, tiles, tensile.
Liabilities will be the thing of the past as there would be no regulator.
Q: What should be the next step?
1 – COA should definitely appeal with all its might sighting, all it has done for the profession. Present a self-evaluation report card in education, professional conduct, debates, letters from the ministry… Whatever it possesses to jacket their argument as the ‘regulator of the profession’. 2 – It’s not COA’s battle alone. But also, IIA needs to gather a team of Architects who have members of parliament on their speed dial. Have the amendment to the act (Architects bill 2010) tabled at the parliament. The bill has less ambiguity than the current act. 3 – The community of Architects that are disgruntled by the order – Facebook noise is not helping nor it is enough. Make a much larger noise against the verdict and not the council, at least for the moment. Create a petition of our own against the order. Let’s get some numbers. We’ve lost the Hall of Nations, we’ve witnessed Amaravati Malpractice, we’re witnessing bureaucratic nonsense for the National War Museum Competition and now, the act falls apart.